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Monday at White North was all about the finer points of stadium jumping, focusing on riding out of a rhythm, and maintaining adjustability and balance at all times. We started with an excellent turning exercise with two verticals set next to each other on diagonals, and proceeded to a related distance in which you had to be able to get 5,6,and 7 strides depending on your canter. We then had a treble and did some course work, again focusing on ridability through out. The treat of the day was watching Cori Garcia, Kelly Sult, and our own Kate Shaughnessy jump around the 4' and 4'3 in preparation for Cori and Kelly to compete at Fair Hill International, and Kate to develop a greater partnership with her new jumper Ciro.
Tuesday at South Farm took us to cross country where Boyd focused on proper galloping position, rhythm, and accuracy. (And for me, proper connection with my new mount!) It was a beautiful day and Sarah and Chris had mowed and set up several areas that were perfect for catching multiple jumps where auditors could watch and listen. I had so much fun watching everyone as they progressed through their lessons...several of my students on new horses that we have bought together, and seeing them excel through the sessions. On a personal level I was able to have an excellent lesson on Captain, where I conquered my fear of Weldon's walls, and also dropped our little five year old boy off the Prelim water. I was thrilled that Boyd liked him so much, and he definitely got me thinking on the fast track, reminding me that the fastest way to progress is to be detailed and correct in our training of this youngster.
On Monday night we hosted our first dinner at Sara's Place to benefit the American Horse Trial Foundation which helps riders like Boyd fund raise to compete at the top level. While we didn't raise as much money as I had hoped, we did have a great time, and Boyd gave a wonderful talk about his career up to the Olympics, followed by some candid questions by the audience. It was excellent to have such a diverse group of attendees, and I personally would like to thank all who came, as well as Sara Welsh, Mandy Williams, and Jami Lieberman for helping me with last minute details.
Big thanks also to Sarah Cherry for providing Boyd's accommodation, as well as our entire team (Liz, Mandy, Jami, and the guys) who worked to prepare the farm and helped keep things organized and flowing throughout the clinic.
We hosted the most people from out of town that we ever have, and had the biggest number of auditors to date. It is such a special experience to have the opportunity to host someone of Boyd's caliber, and I cannot thank him enough for making time in his busy schedule to come to Ohio and share his expertise with us. There are countless things to be learned in clinics and lessons with Boyd, as well as his straightforward perspective on making one's way through the equestrian industry. We can learn so much just by watching and listening; being immersed in that level of instruction even for just two days is priceless.